Supreme Court's Historic Ayodhya Verdict In 10 Points

Disputed land in Ayodhya will be given to a government-run trust for building a temple and Muslims will be given a five-acre "suitable" plot in the town, the Supreme Court announced today

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Supreme Court's Historic Ayodhya Verdict In 10 Points

The Supreme Court delivered its verdict in the historic Ayodhya land dispute case today

New Delhi:  The disputed land in Ayodhya will be given to a government-run trust for the building of a temple and Muslims will be given a five-acre "suitable" plot in the town, the Supreme Court announced today in a landmark verdict in a religious and political flashpoint that has cast a shadow over the country for decades. The five-judge constitution bench delivered a unanimous verdict amid appeals for peace by political and religious leaders and heightened security across the country. The verdict comes after a century-old legal wrangle over a piece of land in Ayodhya on which a Babri mosque, built in the 16th century, stood before it was razed by Hindu activists, on December 6, 1992, who believe it is the birthplace of Lord Ram.
Here are 10 points from today's verdict:
  1. Basing its verdict on the report filed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), the Supreme Court said the land dispute at the heart of the case should be decided on evidence. "Title cannot be established based on faith and belief. Whether a belief is justified is beyond judicial inquiry. Once a faith is established, courts should defer to it," the court said, adding that it should "preserve balance".
  2. The ASI report noted that an older structure existed below the disputed building but it did not say if it (the disputed building) had been constructed after demolishing the older structure. Referring to the report the court said the underlying structure was not Islamic.
  3. The court said that as per documentary evidence prior to 1857 there was no exclusion of Hindus from worshipping at the site. The outer courtyard became a focal point of worship by Hindus, for which they have been able to establish unimpeded possession, the court added.
  4. Muslims have not brought evidence to show possession, the court said. Noting that the inner courtyard was the contested site, the court also said evidence does not indicate it was abandoned by the Muslims. There is also no evidence to show the offer of namaz by Muslims was to the exclusion of Hindus, it added
  5. The Supreme Court also said that Muslims had been wrongly deprived of a mosque which had been constructed well over 450 years ago.
  6. In its written verdict the court said justice would not prevail if it were to overlook the fact the mosque had been lost through means that cannot be employed in a secular nation committed to the rule of law.
  7. On the demolition of the Babri Masjid, the court said it was "...a calculated act of destroying a place of public worship" and said "...it is necessary to provide restitution to the Muslim community for the unlawful destruction of their place of worship".
  8. In deciding some of the other petitions, the court ruled that Ram Janmbhoomi was not a juristic person and that the Nirmohi Akhara's suit was barred by limitation.
  9. The court's ruling that the 2.77 acres is to be handed over to a government-run trust to build a temple is contingent on the maintained of peace in Ayodhya, the court ruled. The government has been tasked with keeping law and order.
  10. The court recalled the ruling of the Allahabad High Court in which a three-way division of the land was ordered but said a similar decision today was legally unsustainable. "(This) is not feasible. Dividing the land will not sub serve interest of either of the parties or secure a lasting sense of peace and tranquillity," it said.




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